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Saffron Rice Pilaf with Red Pepper & Toasted Almonds

Scott Phillips

Servings: six to eight.

The flavors in this pilaf remind me a little of paella. It’s a great partner for salmon, shrimp, or mussels.


  • 2-1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth or water
  • Pinch saffron (about 20 threads)
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, small diced (1-1/4 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and small diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
  • Pinch ground cayenne
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (1-1/2 tsp.)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh oregano

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on eight servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 200
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 40
  • Fat (g): 4
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 170
  • Carbohydrates (g): 34
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 5


  • On the stovetop or in the microwave, heat the broth until hot. Add the saffron, cover, and let sit for 15 to 20 min.
  • In a heavy-based 3-qt. saucepan with a tight lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the diced onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 5 min. Add the rice, salt, and cayenne, and stir well to coat each grain with oil. Toast for a full 5 min., stirring regularly to keep the grains separated and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan (the rice may turn opaque before 5 min. is up, but keep going). Reduce the heat to low if there are any signs of scorching. Stir in 2 Tbs. of the parsley and the garlic.
  • Add the saffron broth, stir once, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 min. Remove from the heat, and let the pilaf sit, still covered, for 5 min.

    Once the pilaf has rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Using the fork, gently fold in the almonds, the remaining 2 Tbs. parsley, and the oregano. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.


Fluff the pilaf by slipping the tines of a fork down into the rice alongside the edge of the pan. Gently lift and toss the rice toward the center of the pan. Continue this process as you work your way around the perimeter. Then add your finishing-touch ingredients and gently fold them in with the fork, using a similar gentle fluffing motion.


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Reviews (8 reviews)

  • LArcher | 05/16/2014

    My husband always cooks for me on Mother's day which is a real gift given that he doesn't particularly like to cook unless it involves the BBQ. I help him out by suggesting some recipes that I have wanted to try but haven't got around to making. This mother's day he made grilled salmon, a kale salad, and this fantastic rice. It was delicious and colorful and totally made the meal complete. He sweated a bit when he looked at all the ingredients but chopped everything up before starting and in the end was very pleased with himself when the meal all came together.

  • Foodie3737 | 01/01/2013

    Followed recipe to a T, and it came out perfectly. Loved it! So did my husband. He said it was better then you'd get in a restaurant. (Best compliment EVER!) Lots of flavor, good texture. We paired it with Mediterranean style orange roughy, and they complimented each other very well. Great start to my 2013 cooking adventures.

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